Reflexology is the art and science of utilizing pressure on specific areas and points of the hands, feet, or ears. This article is written from the perspective of a Reflexologist, who is someone that believes that certain reflex points or areas align with different systems and organs of the body. It is thought that by putting pressure on those areas, it improves the function of the designated organs and the person’s general health. Reflexology, suggests that a specific place in the arch on the foot for example, aligns directly to the bladder or kidney. As a reflexologist uses their thumbs and fingers to put appropriate pressure on that area, it then affects bladder or kidney functions in a positive way.While reflexology should never be used to try and cure or even diagnose problems, there are many hundreds of thousands of people on the globe who use reflexology to go along with other treatments as they are address health disorders such as anxiety, PMS, asthma, cancer treatment of various kinds, sinusitis, cardiovascular problems, migraine headaches, kidney functions, and diabetes
The practice of reflexology continues to grow more popular around the world as both a supplement to other treatments and in the minds of many, also as a preventive measure. Denmark is one of the leading countries in the use of reflexology. Here many of their municipalities, corporations and organizations have actually employed reflexologists starting before 1995
Many studies have shown that in Denmark, this practice has resulted in reduced days and time off due to illness which resulted in a significant savings of time and productivity within the organizations. Workers of these employers have repeatedly reported full or in part improvement in their personal health when they utilized reflexologists’ help. A common report also was the relief of stress and related concerns. In one case – in a municipal district, over a quarter of the workers reported an improved degree of satisfaction in their jobs after participating in only six reflexology sessions.
What is the location of the key reflexology areas and pressure points?
In reflexology, as stated earlier, certain areas or pressure points of our feet, hands, and ears correlate to specific bones, organs and body systems. Reflexologists use these points of the feet and hands (bottom, sides, and top) as well as the ear – both deep inside (as can be reached with the finger) and also on the outside, to positively stimulate all of the bodily systems and organs.
Maps containing reflex spots have been passed between reflexologists around the world for a very long time. It is quite understandable that there isn’t a lot of agreement between all reflexologists on all points. But, there is general consensus regarding major reflex spots. There is also a growing body of scientific documentation pertaining to linkages between the internal organs and the skin.
As a way of illustrating how the systems of the body correlate with each other, reflexologists and practitioners use reflexology “maps.” A fine example of a reflexology map is illustrated pertaining to the feet. Each foot is a representation of an upright half of the body:
- The foot on the left corresponds with the left body side including all organs, body functions and valves, that are located there..
- The foot on the right corresponds with the right body side andall organs, body functions and valves, that are located there. As an example, our liver which is on the body’s right side, natuarally corresponds to the reflex spots is on foot on the right.
The picture attached illustrates a commonly used foot map of reflexology.
A reflexology practitioner may perform a general, integrated session, or may focus only on problem areas on the feet, hands or ears. If client time is limited for example – and the person really needs to relax, the reflexologist may choose to work only on the ears. Regardless of the particular technique, the field of reflexology believes that the practitioner’s goal is to eliminate stress and congestionn the nervous system in order to bring balance to the body’s energy.
Isn’t reflexology a lot like some of the other therapies?
Acupuncture and acupressure: Reflexology has some similarities with acupuncture and acupressure in that it believes it has an influence on the body’s vital energy through the stimulation of various pressure points on the body. Acupuncture/acupressure points do not, however always correlate even remotely to the reflex spots used with reflexology.
Acupressure and reflexology and both “reflex” therapies in that they work with points on one point in the body to change organs or other body parts elsewhere. Reflexology uses reflexes that are in an orderly arrangement resembling an outline of the human body on the feet, outer ears and hands . On the other hand, acupressure uses over 800 reflex spots that are located along lenghty thin “energy lines” called meridians which run the length of the entire body.
Massage: It is not uncommon for people to confuse reflexology with massage. While both massage and reflexology use the human touch, the approaches are very different.
- Massage is the deliberate manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, using specific techniques (which might include kneading, tapping, stroking, and friction) to relax the muscles and the mind..
- On the other hand, reflexology focuses on reflex maps of points and areas of the body in the feet, hands, and ears and uses unique techniques such as thumb or finger walking and hook and backup with the goal of creating a positive response.
It could be stated that massage therapists attempt to work “from the outside in.” They manipulate specific muscle groups or fascia to release mental stress and muscle tension. Reflexology practitioners view themselves as working the opposite way starting inside and then working out — putting pressure on the nervous system to release tension.
Another significant difference between the two therapies is that in a reflexology treatment session, a client will stay fully clothed except for removing footwear, where in the case with a therapeutic full body massage session, the clients remove clothing so there is direct contact with the muscle tissue.